Friday, 19 August 2011

This is amazing!!

Some of you know that our son Jeff is deaf. He was diagnosed just before he was three. He was tested regularly and his hearing was deteriorating fast. Luckily it just came to a stop and he was left with a moderate to severe sensorineural bilateral hearing loss. By 3 he was wearing 2 hearing aids and learning to speak.

For some babies and children they don't have any hearing, they are profoundly deaf, they can't hear anything at all. There is hope for these children, it is called a cochlear implant and with lots of learning and input it will allow them to hear and learn to speak. It is absolutely amazing. Get a tissue and watch this 2 minute video.

Isn't that incredible?

The Carel Du Toit Centre is in South Africa, where they teach these children who have been lucky enough to have cochlear implants, which is where my friend's son went.

I learnt about cochlear implants from my friend Sue, her son Hughan has a cochlear implant. They arrived from South Africa about the same time we arrived from Portsmouth and our boys both ended up in the same class. It is wonderful to see how well Hughan has done since I have known him, he is now working full time, I can ring and speak to him on the phone, which is just great.

Sue is publishing Hughan's Diary from the first days onwards, they had videos and pictures of his learning. You can find Hughan's Diary here. She hopes it will help other parents with children with cochlear implants, to help them work with their children and give encouragement and hope to the parents.

In South Africa there is no National Health Service so each operation has to be paid for. I think she said it cost £50,000 for the operation, £45,000 is provided via the university hospital and £5,000 by parents. It is a very expensive business. If you wish to make a donation you can through

After 2 years studying Countryside Management, he changed tack and has just finished his degree in Architectural Technology and the Environment at Plymouth Uni with a 2:1. He is now back home and job hunting.

I felt quite moved by this little video and just wanted to pass it on.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

My mother has been crafting. She liked a couple of patterns in my magazines.  

This one is a bunny decorated and blanket stitched round the edges. Look at that cute pink, pom, pom tail. I think this one was destined for a friend's new granddaughter to hang in the baby's bedroom.

The hanging heart was from July Crafts Beautiful magazine. I think it is gorgeous, it looks so appealing and would look lovely hanging in my one day decorated as a beach hut cloakroom. My Mum is an inspiration as she gets things done.

Just thought I would pass this offer on to you, offered by Jaycotts. Patterns are so expensive now that any help is very welcome.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The whole thing

Here is the full image of the card I put together for Thornbury Craft Club. I found the template on Splitcoast Stampers.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Sneak Peak for Card Class

I am demonstrating making a tri-shutter card for Thornbury Craft Club on Thur 12th May. They very kindly invited me along. I have been a couple of times and they cover all sorts of crafts throughout the year.

I have got all the kits together, I hope there won't be more than 30 people, otherwise I will be stuck. I have some spares in case bits get lost or damaged as they work. I just need to refine the instruction sheet, which they can take home with their finished card, to make similar cards.

Here is a sneak peak of the card I am demonstrating.

Do you think they will like it?

Tuesday, 5 April 2011


"CHICKS (Country Holidays for Inner City Kids) is a children's charity that aims to provide life enhancing respite breaks to as many disadvantaged children as possible at one of our retreats in Devon or Cornwall."

I came across CHICKS in a sewing magazine. They have a kite as part of their logo so I was instantly drawn to find out more. I loved what they were doing for children who may be living in poverty, children that are being neglected or abused, who have lost parents and those children who are full time young carers.

Something they do for the children is to gather together a bag of memories for them to take home as reminders of their holidays. The advert was asking for people to sponsor a bag maker to provide a memory bag. So I got my friends and family to sponsor me £10 (the cost to cover contents) and made the required bag with their logo on. I used calico and hand embroidered the logo with their bright, primary colours.

One of the CHICKS retreats is based in Brentor, near Tavistock, a coincidence as Brentor was somewhere my husband has fond family holiday memories himself. We have also been to visit Brentor and the old church on the top of the hill. The other is based in Tywardreath, near Par in Cornwall.

The photos on the website show them having a really special time, the website also describes some of the home lives these children cope with. I want to help CHICKS further than just making a bag, I wonder what I can do next?

You can help by donating. This is on their website: To donate £5 now text CHICKS to 70777. (Texts cost £5 + your standard network rate).

Or you can become a CHICKS Memory Maker, see the Memory Maker page. Their website is

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Vintage Jumble Sale

Saturday 5th March, Vintage Jumble Sale, Rangeworthy, S Glos.

This is where my DH and I went to have a browse and see if I could find any bits and pieces for sewing.

This is what I bought.

A mixed bag of fabrics, including, gingham, patchwork fabrics, flowers etc.

This whole pile was in 1 mixed bag that cost £8.

It even had some vintage strawberry fabric.

I have plans, I fancy having a go at sewing pictures using little scraps of printed fabrics. I also bought a box of buttons too. A girl can never have too many buttons.

The same people that ran the Jumble Sale run a Vintage and Handmade Fair in Chipping Sodbury. The next one is on 9th April. Unfortunately I can't go but for a very good reason, I will be running a children's sewing party for a soon to be 10yr old and her friends.

Here you can find some lovely photos from the Jumble Sale on The Washerwomen blog.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Cuttlebug Sandwich Recipes

I have a Cuttlebug, which is a little manual die cutting machine. I have several makes of die I can use in my Cuttlebug and I decided it was time to see what these dies could cut and to record the sandwich required for a clean cut. A sandwich in this case is the layering of plates, shims, dies and material to be cut, not one made from bread and butter!

I tested:
Bazzil cardstock
Cotton material
Shrink plastic
Grunge paper

I used combinations of different plates, A, B or C, a piece of thickish card, ordinary printer paper with a die and the material being tested. The paper might be in 1, 2, 3 or 4 thicknesses. The figure in brackets is the suggested number of runs through the Cuttlebug. The first plate down is first in the list.

Quickutz Die
Sandwiches for Quickutz die
Paper - A, C, die, paper, B
Bazzil - A, C, die, bazzil, B
Felt - A, C, die, felt, B
Cotton - A, C, card, die, cotton, 2 paper, B
Shrink plastic - A, C, die, plastic, B (4x)
Grunge paper - A, 2 paper, C, die, grunge, B (4x)

Cuttlebug Die
Sandwiches for Cuttlebug die
Paper - A, B, die, paper, B
Bazzil - A, B, die, bazzil, B
Felt - A, B, die, felt, B
Cotton - A, B, card, die, cotton, B paper on cotton may protect B
Shrink plastic - A, B, die, plastic, B
Grunge paper - A, B, die, grunge, B

Marianne Die
Sandwiches for Marianne die
Paper - A, C, die, paper, B
Bazzil - A, C, die, bazzil, B (2x)
Felt - A, C, die, felt, B Thin bits are fragile
Cotton - A, C, card, die, cotton, 4 paper, B (2/3x) May need a snip
Shrink plastic - A, C, die, plastic, 4 paper, B (4x) Tricky to get out, needed a snip
Grunge paper - A, C, die, grunge, B

Spellbinders Die
Sandwiches for Spellbinders die
Paper - A, C, die, paper, B
Bazzil - A, C, die, bazzil, B
Felt - A, C, die, felt, 2 paper, B
Cotton - A, C, card, die, cotton, 2 paper, B (2x)
Shrink plastic - A, C, die, plastic, B
Grunge paper - A, C, die, grunge, B (2/3x)

Sandwiches for BIGZ die
Paper - B, die, paper, B
Bazzil - B, die, bazzil, B
Felt - B, die, felt, B
Cotton - B, die, cotton, B (2x) May need 2 paper on cotton
Shrink plastic - B, die, plastic, B
Grunge paper - B, die, grunge, B

These were the setting that worked for my particular Cuttlebug, be aware that other Cuttlebugs may be different and require slight alterations to the sandwich. I don't know about sandwich but it is definitely time for cake.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Adult Sewing Classes

That's two official Sewing Machine Basic classes I have done now. I think they went very well and it is great to see the ladies confidence increase and think about going off on their own to make all types of goodies. Maybe they will come back for some further lessons too. Here are a couple of pictures.

In the beginners class they learn how to use the sewing machine and then practise what they have learnt by making a Tote bag with bow and a matching zipped pouch. Carol said she was amazed at how much she learnt in such a short space of time.

Berni chose a sophisticated brown with soft coloured spot, Basic Grey by Moda fabric with contrastic flowers for the bow.

Friday, 7 January 2011

10 Reasons to Love Sewing

I saw this on the All About You website.

10 Reasons to Love Sewing by Olivia Gordon
  1. It's soothing
  2. It feeds our magpie instinct
  3. It's creative
  4. It's practical
  5. It teaches patience
  6. It's a time-honoured craft
  7. Our gifts are second to none
  8. There's always more to learn
  9. It's about domesticity not drudgery
  10. It requires brainpower
Click on Reasons to Love Sewing above and it takes you to the article which has some lovely narratives about each one.

I liked number 6, "It's a time-honoured craft".

"For most of us, sewing reminds us of cosy afternoons with Mum, Grandma, or another woman from a previous generation who first taught us how to chain stitch or use a sewing machine. In an age when schools no longer teach much sewing, it's such an honour and a pleasure to keep the skills of past generations alive, and pass them down to our children."

I say "exactly". Especially seeing as I am teaching 8 year olds to sew and now offer sewing classes for their Mum's or Grandma's in fact to anyone so they can feel the excitement of creating something themselves. Which is what I love seeing when I teach.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year!

What a lovely evening we had at Tortworth Court Hotel last night. Seeing in the New Year with music, dancing, champagne and lots of noise.

Today, 1.1.11, my birthday, was a quiet day. Listening to new cds, opening presents, reading the paper, eating birthday fairy cakes, then a lovely array of party food with Poinsettia Cocktails to round off the day.

In between times I managed to put a scrap of a website together as I am offering a Learn to Sew class as a prize on MyThornbury website. So much more to do.

It was a lovely day, thank you to all my family and friends for all their wishes, presents and cards.